Robert E. Hall, a financial portfolio manager with educational, cultural and medical philanthropic interests, dies

Robert E. Hall, a retired Brown Capital Management LLC portfolio manager whose philanthropic interests in addition to Johns Hopkins University included cultural and medical institutions, died Oct. 26. The former longtime Bolton Hill resident was 86.
Robert E. Hall, a retired Brown Capital Management LLC portfolio manager whose philanthropic interests in addition to Johns Hopkins University included cultural and medical institutions, died Oct. 26. The former longtime Bolton Hill resident was 86. (LLC)

Robert E. Hall, a retired Brown Capital Management LLC portfolio manager whose philanthropic interests in addition to Johns Hopkins University included cultural and medical institutions, died Oct. 26 of congestive heart failure at Gilchrist Center Towson. The former longtime Bolton Hill resident was 86.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our great alumnus and friend, Bob Hall,” Ronald J. Daniels, president of the Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement. “Along with his wife, Nancy, Bob was a steadfast and generous benefactor of Johns Hopkins and Baltimore.”


“Bob was, first of all, a dear friend, and one of the most thoughtful, diligent investment professionals I ever met or had the pleasure of working with,” said Eddie C. Brown, founder, chairman and CEO of Brown Capital Management, where Mr. Hall worked from 1991 until retiring in June.

“He had a passion investing in small growth companies. It was in his DNA,” said Mr. Brown, a Glen Arm resident. “He was a great friend and investor, and we are all still grieving and will sorely miss him.”


Robert Edward Hall, the son of Columbus Edward Hall, a machinist and union organizer, and his wife, Isabel Bartholomew Hall, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in West Baltimore and Glen Burnie.

While attending Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Hall worked as a carpenter’s helper during summers. and delivered The Sun in the morning, before going to school, and The News American in the afternoon, walking his 90-block route on foot twice a day, according to family members, who said one of his subscribers was H.L. Mencken.

After graduating from Poly in 1951, Mr. Hall began his studies at Johns Hopkins.

“He never applied to Hopkins. His father knew the dean and he told him about his son,” said a son, Christopher Hall of Portland, Oregon. “The dean picked up the phone, called the registrar, and instructed him to enroll him at Hopkins.”


While a student at Hopkins, Mr. Hall was a member of the Engineering Society and ran cross country, and during summers worked as a draftsman for the old State Roads Commission and the Glenn L. Martin Co.

After graduating in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, Mr. Hall joined Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey as a mechanical engineer, working in New Jersey and Louisiana.

Mr. Hall enrolled in Harvard Business School where he was named the Walter C. Teagle Fellow and where he earned a master’s degree in business in 1962. He returned to the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey as an economic analyst in New York City, where he worked for a year, and then moved to Baltimore in 1963 when he joined T. Rowe Price.

Under the mentorship of Thomes Rowe Price Jr., who founded T. Rowe Price & Associates in 1937, Mr. Hall became the “leading practitioner of Mr. Price’s Growth Stock philosophy,” his daughter, Selby Hall of Guilford, wrote in a biographical profile of her father. “He became chairman of the investment committee of both the Growth Stock Fund and the New Era Fund, as well as president of the Growth Stock Fund.”

While at T. Rowe Price, Mr. Hall became a close colleague and friend of George A. Roche, also a Bolton Hill neighbor, and who was president of the firm from 1968 until retiring in 2006.

“We began working together in 1968, and Bob lived four doors down from me, and we frequently walked to work,” said Mr. Roche, now a Federal Hill resident. “The number one thing I’d say about Bob was his high sense of integrity. He was very honest. He was just a good strong straight shooter.”

He said Mr. Hall “worked well with clients.”

“For two reasons, he produced good results and was easy to deal with,” Mr. Roche said. “And I never ever saw him clearly angry. In fact, he was a very steady person, and was highly regarded by his co-workers.”

Because of his affability and professionalism, Mr. Hall was “frequently used as a mentor by young people. He was considered to be a good teacher who was both thoughtful and patient.”

Mr. Roche described him as a “very thoughtful and disciplined analyst.”

“He’d work very, very hard and had to be absolutely certain that he was knowledgeable about a company, which was a huge advantage for him,” he said. “There is a quotation from the Roman philosopher Seneca that said, ‘Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.’ Bob did that his whole life.”

Mr. Hall joined Brown Capital Management in 1991 and co-founded BCM’s Small Company Fund.

“He suggested to me that I start an investment strategy in small growth companies," Mr. Brown said. "We agreed and I hired Keith A. Lee and he and Bob agreed to come on board, and we later expanded the team. Keith is now president and chief operating officer of Brown Capital Management.

“Bob was very passionate and very good at picking small growth companies. He once told me that he had spent more time at Brown Capital Management than anywhere else.”

In 2015, Morningstar Inc., a global financial services firm, awarded the fund the title of Domestic Stock Fund Managers of the Year and noted the fund’s performance was in the top 10% of all U.S. mutual funds for the previous three, five and 10 years.

The fund received the Thomson Reuters Lipper Fund Award in 2016 for U.S. Small-Cap Growth Funds, and two years later, was the recipient of the Investor’s Business Daily Best Mutual Funds Award.

Mr. Hall brought the same zeal to his philanthropy as he did to his professional business life. He and his wife, the former Nancy Harrison, whom he married in 1956, shared a common belief in philanthropy.

The couple financially supported the humanities at the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Hopkins and endowed a program at the Walters Art Museum in support of education and career development of art historians. They endowed four annual Hall fellowships to provide undergraduate and graduate students at Hopkins an opportunity to work at the Walters to gain insight into the museum profession.

Mr. Hall served as a trustee of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University from 1981 to 1986. He also was a member of the advisory council for the Krieger School and a member of the Sheridan Libraries advisory board.

In 2016, he was named a Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumnus, and the next year, his name was added to the Founders Wall among others who have given $7 million dollars or more to the university, matching the original $7 million that Johns Hopkins gave to create the university that bears his name.

He endowed a professorship in the humanities at the Krieger School as well as the Nancy H. Hall Curatorship of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Sheridan Libraries in memory of his wife, who died in 2015.

“Bob’s support for scholarship and teaching in the arts and humanities at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Sheridan Libraries, and the Peabody Institute, and for research at the School of Medicine has inspired generations of students. faculty and clinicians to take up significant questions for our time and to impact lives locally and globally,” Mr. Daniels said in his statement.

“We are grateful for his belief in Hopkins and in the city we call home.”


While he enjoyed travel and was a fan of Hopkins lacrosse, Mr. Hall’s major pastime was work.


He enjoyed spending time at a late 1700s-era stone house in New Market, Frederick County, which has been officially designated a station on the Underground Railroad by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Harking back to his days as a carpenter’s helper, Mr. Hall used what he had learned to restore his Bolton Hill home. In 1996, he and his wife moved to the Warrington Condominiums on North Charles Street in Guilford, where he lived until his death.

At his country home, he enjoyed making repairs and had restored a dry stack stone wall.

“But mostly he cogitated and solved work problems while mowing the lawn,” his son said.

A memorial gathering will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the Johns Hopkins Club, 3400 N. Charles St.

In addition to his son and daughter, Mr. Hall is survived by another son, Benton Hall of Roland Park, and a sister, Ruth Elizabeth Gibb of Glen Burnie.

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